Our Principal, Susan Carr shares a few thoughts and tips on Allergies and Pets

Despite popular belief it’s not your puppy, bunny or kitten that you might be allergic to but it’s dander. What’s dander? Well basically its all the dead skin flakes that come off your beloved pet and these get everywhere! This dander is often covered in your pet’s saliva and urine too (ewww). You can experience an allergic reaction to any and all pets or maybe it’s just one in particular. Cat allergies are twice as common as dogs but there’s actually no such thing as a non-allergenic pet.

Why? Well people experiencing allergies have an over-sensitive immune system, their bodies over-react to usually harmless substances and attempt to save you by attacking them. The symptoms we experience are actually a side-effect of the body’s attempts to flush itself of the allergens.

Chances are if you are reading this blog, you or someone you know is experiencing some symptoms when pets are around.

Pet allergies 101

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Cat Allergy with glasses

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Allergic Dog with skin wrinkes

But just in case you didn’t already know the symptoms of a pet allergy include:
– coughing,
– wheezing,
– red and itchy eyes,
– a runny, itchy and stuffy nose.
– sneezing
– for some people skin reactions like rashes and hives
– heightened asthma symptoms.

Hope is not lost, for those of you that were thinking about getting a family pet for Christmas this year you can organise a panel of tests here to see which (if any) pets might trigger this response in your body.

For those of you who already have pets, you are probably wondering if a positive test result means you’ll have to give up your beloved fur baby? Not necessarily.

Here are a few tips to reduce your exposure to dander:

– Keep a safe distance. So, don’t share your bed or couch with pets. In fact, keep them out of the bedroom completely – outside if you can.
– Keep things clean inside. Sweep. Mop. Vacuum. Floors AND furniture. Make sure your vacumm has a HEPA filter because if it doesn’t dander will just float up in the air only to land back where you just picked it up from.
– An indoor air filter might help. Especially in the bed-room / where you sleep.
– Keep your pets clean. Have someone who isn’t allergic to them brush pets down outside every few days. Give them a bath at least weekly.

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Pet Allergies Dog with Mask

What does all this mean for you? Well basically there is nothing you can do to be completely dander and allergic reaction free but you can find out which (if any) are triggering your reaction with some simple testing AND you can reduce the severity of your reactions by following the steps above.